December 19, 2008

Mark Felt in 1976, during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” (Courtesy The Associated Press)

Watergate’s "Deep Throat" Dies

Mark Felt, journalism’s most famous anonymous source, died Dec. 18 at age 95. As "Deep Throat," he helped bring down President Richard M. Nixon by leaking information about the Watergate break-in to The Washington Post.

Felt was a top FBI official in 1972 when five men broke into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at Washington’s Watergate complex. A security guard discovered tape on the latch of a stairwell door, which led to the burglars’ arrest and touched off the Watergate scandal.

Frustrated by pressure from the White House to downplay the break-in, Felt relayed information to reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. They exposed the Nixon administration’s involvement in the break-in, which led to the president’s resignation in 1974.

For 30 years, the identity of "Deep Throat" remained one of the nation’s biggest secrets. Only Woodward, Bernstein and Post editor Ben Bradlee knew his true identity. Felt was finally revealed as "Deep Throat" in a 2005 profile in Vanity Fair.

The Watergate Door, Bernstein’s notes and other Watergate artifacts can be seen in the Newseum’s News Corporation News History Gallery.

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